How Car Locks Have Evolved Over The Years

Throughout the age of the automobile, cars have undergone many aesthetic and mechanical changes. The humble car lock is no exception.

It might surprise you to know that the very first cars were not actually ‘locked‘ in the modern sense of the word. Most had no locks at all as they were the expensive property of the very wealthiest in society who could afford a driver to stand guard over their vehicle when it was parked. Those who could not afford a driver, could have purchased a car with a locking system like the 1900 Leach Auto which had a detachable steering wheel similar to Mr. Bean’s mini cooper. Like Mr. Bean, once the driver had arrived at the intended destination, they could remove the steering wheel and take it with them in the sure and certain knowledge that their car was effectively useless to any would be thieves.

As the American boom of the 1920s gave rise to the mass produced Ford Model T, more people throughout the world became car owners which meant that car theft was on the increase and cars needed better security. And so the car industry produced the mechanical cylinder locks, some of which can still be seen today, which would continue to be used for the better part of the twentieth century. These simple locks sat in a cylinder and could be unlocked either by a set of pins that had to be raised to the correct height by the insertion of the right key and turning motion as in the ‘pin tumbler’, or a set of wafers that had to be pushed into place by the key and turning motion such as the ‘wafer tumbler.’

Unfortunately these mechanical locks were prime pickings for car thieves who could easily pick the lock with fake keys and a variety of tools. We took these tips from¬† Car Locksmith Gold Coast that was saying the Honda Civic is the easiest car to boost.¬† These locks could even be ‘bumped’ open by bumping the key and forcing the locks mechanical pins or wafers open with the use of a screwdriver or hammer. In fact before 1992, cars could just as easily be opened with the use of a device known as a ‘slim jim’ such as a metal ruler or coat hanger that could slide down the door window and effectively unlatch the lock as being lock picked.

Cars produced in the early 1990s were eventually fitted with a metal plate in the door to protect the lock, but times had moved on and as cars were becoming more fuel efficient and electronic, the car lock also underwent a modern electronic update. The earliest electronic locks still required the insertion of the car key to unlock, but following the millennium and the rise of the digital age, car manufacturers produced more intricate car locks that could be unlocked with a remote key fob, number pad and even a Bluetooth activated mobile phone.

The future of car locks looks set to follow the trend in the car industry of ever more convenient and high tech updates such as voice activation.